One of the greatest privileges of this job is having conversations with your patients who have lived amazing lives. There are a few who will tell you right off the top what they have done in their time on earth. You may have to probe. It can start with noticing photos in their homes or just a simple, what did you do for a living or where did you grow up. If they feel like talking, that’s great. If they don’t know harm done.
I have talked with concentration camp survivors, war veterans, musicians, professional athletes, bank robbers, captains of industry, was well as other people who worked common jobs, but lived through extraordinary events – the civil rights marches, the space program, homelessness, fleeing countries as refugees. All tales were riveting — a true honor to be in their presence.
I wrote this post in 2011 about a man who served in the Battle of the Bulge.